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The Official Newsletter of
Updated: July 20, 2011

Losing 1 LB. 
of Body Fat A Day

by Ron Brown, author of The Body Fat Guide 

"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too." 
Washington DC

HOW MANY many miles do you need to walk to lose 1 lb. of body fat in one day? The answer depends on certain conditions:

Your weight. The more you weigh the more calories you burn walking per mile; the less you weigh the fewer calories you burn per mile. The amount of calories you burn per mile is equal to double your weight in pounds divided by 3.5. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you burn 2 x 175 = 350 / 3.5 = 100 calories per mile. Since there are 3500 calories in 1 lb. of body fat, a 175-pound person needs to walk 35 miles. A 125-pound person burns about 71 calories per mile, and would need to walk 49 miles.

Anaerobic activity. If you are very heavy, moving your bodyweight over distance is much more strenuous and thus becomes increasingly more anaerobic instead of aerobic. 

As a result, your muscles burn more glycogen instead of fat for fuel. Get off your feet by cycling or rowing instead of walking. A person who walks very rapidly may also burn a greater amount of glycogen. Slow down and go a little longer. Although high-intensity aerobic activity is great for cardio-conditioning, distance is the most important factor when going for body-fat loss. Most people can go farther at a slower pace.

Your calorie intake. Regardless how much you walk and how many calories you burn from fat, if you increase your calorie intake to replace all the calories you burned, you will not lose any body fat.

Using the Energy Balance Chart in The Body Fat Guide is a great way to keep a record of the amount of body fat you lose each day. Here is a sample below of the Energy Balance Chart illustrating how I lose 1 lb. of body fat a day:

Notice that the negative number in the net calorie intake column, the last column on the right, shows that I burned 3500 more calories than I ate on July 12. This resulted in my weight decreasing by 1 pound by the next day, July 13. Since my waist also decreased by 1/4 inch, the body composition columns of the chart show that I lost about 1 pound of body fat with hardly any muscle loss. By contrast, a person who fasts on nothing but water all day may also lose 1 pound a day, but 60% of their weight loss is muscle!

To increase my Energy Output on the chart on July 12, in addition to my usual 200 calories for sedentary and light activities, I walked 7 hours at 3.5 mph for 24.5 miles! At my weight, this amount of calories plus the additional calories from my RMR (resting metabolic rate...the calories my body burns at rest according to my amount of lean body mass) added up to a total of 4661 calories burned. Subtracting 3500 calories left 1161 calories for my calorie intake. To make better use of my time while walking, I spent several hours working on my computer and reading while marching in place. 

I could have walked fewer hours, however, in that case I would have had to cut my calorie intake too severely to produce a net calorie intake of -3500 calories, and I would have lost muscle. Nevertheless, eating only 1161 calories as consumed on July 12 would usually not be nearly enough calories for me to maintain muscle mass on a regular daily basis, especially while burning so many calories aerobically. Why then wasn't muscle lost on such a low calorie intake? One explanation is that I ate very heavily late in the day before July 12. Those extra calories, perhaps as many as several thousand, were burned up the next day in addition to the 1161 calories consumed on July 12, supplying a much higher overall calorie intake that kept my muscle replenished while I aerobically burned fat.

Admittedly, only athletic people can manage a rate of body-fat loss of 1 pound a day by walking 7 or more hours. This almost equals the mileage in a marathon! However, the purpose of this article is to show how anyone in any condition can use the numbers in The Body Fat Guide to choose a rate of body-fat loss that is comfortably manageable for them.
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